Nine years ago I interviewed for a job as a creative director. The position was leading an internal agency inside a large insurance company. With no graphic design skills and only modest writing skills I was the perfect candidate. Why? Because what the company really needed was someone who could manage the collective of creative types and serve as a buffer between them and upper management. I could do that.
I had what Seth Godin refers to as process skills. While I didn’t know how to do the job of my best editor, graphic designer, or web master, I knew how to coach, cajole, motivate and direct their activities. I could negotiate with upper management, sell our ideas, and make sure we hit our deadlines, on time and on budget. Those process skills are transferable, to any job, any company, any industry. I just had to learn the rules of the particular industry (in this case insurance) when I got there.
What are your process skills? Not sure, take an inventory. It isn’t your abilty to create a spreadsheet, or write great memos. From a recent post, Seth Godin sums it up when he says:
As the world changes ever faster, as industries shrink and others grow, process ability is priceless. Figure out which sort of process you’re world-class at and get even better at it. Then, learn the domain… that’s what the internet is for.
So whether you are a company employee or a small business owner discover your process skills. These, not your technical skills will give you the greatest competitive advantage in the long run.